Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Paper quickly retracted after author used another group’s work

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The author of a 2016 paper has agreed to retract it after an investigation revealed that most of the article came from another research group at the same university.

According to the notice, the author based the majority of his paper on results generated by other scientists without their permission.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Controlled synthesis of magnetic block copolymers for anti-microbial purpose,” published in the Journal of Applied Polymer Science in November and retracted in February:

The above article from the Journal of Applied Polymer Science [Volume 134 (2017), Issue 11, 44598; version of record online: November 9, 2016] has been retracted by agreement between the author Hongjian Zhao, the Editor-in-Chief, Stefan Spiegel, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed following an investigation indicating that the majority of the paper is based on results not created by the author and used without permission from the original authors/scientists and the group of Prof. Xiaoyan Yuan, where the work was done.

We’ve reached out to the author Hongjian Zhao, from Tianjin University in China, but did not hear back.

We’ve also contacted Xiaoyan Yuan, also based at Tianjin University, whose group generated the original work. Yuan responded but did not provide any further information:

I can not tell you any additional information. Sorry about that.

When we emailed the journal’s editor-in-chief Stefan Spiegel, he told us:

We were contacted by both parties (the author and the group where the work was actually done) independently and practically at the same time and with consistent facts and statements. At that time the paper already was published, but in view of the new situation there was no alternative to agreeing to the retraction suggested by both parties.

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